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Fretting wide necked basses

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Geoff St. Germaine, Mar 21, 2005.


  1. Hi,
    My next instrument will be my first attempt at fretting. It has a 4.5" wide fretboard. I was interested in the Stew Mac miter box for fretting, but it only goes to 3" wide. Does anyone know if it is built such that it could be modified for accomodating such a wide board?

    Any other suggestions on ways I could do this without the board? I've seen table saw blades ground for fretting, so I suppose that could be one way.

    Thanks.
     
  2. I have not fretted any bass yet, I'm doing my first sometime soon (wood's arriving tomorrow!). But I have done fretless with fret lines. I don't use a miter box, I juse use a japanese ryoba and a combination square before tapering. I do have a cardboard template of the 34" scale which I use to mark my fingerboard with (using the cumpiano/natelson method of just scratching the edge where the mark should be). In my opinion, you really don't need the miter box. Those depth adjustable fretting saws are nice though. I'll probably get one of those soon.
     
  3. Skorzen

    Skorzen

    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    Wfret is a cool little program that will print out a template you can use for getting the fret spacing. I tape the template directly to the fretboard and cut right through it. I use the same method to cut the slots as Wilser it's really rather easy. I have one of those fret saws with the depth stop that stew mac sells, and IMHO I would save your money and get a Japanese ryoba like Wilser mentioned. Mine cuts much better than the stew mac saw ever did. LMI has a nice one that has the right kerf for about $40 if my memory serves correctly. I got mine from wood craft for $30, but the kerf is just a hair thiner than I would like.
     
  4. DSB

    DSB Builder: Seger Basses

    Mar 11, 2005
    Bangor, Maine
    You can fit extra wide fingerboards in the Stew mac miter box if you make some spacers for the back side. I made a quick MS paint drawing to better illustrate what I'm talking about.

    The green part is meant to be the fretting template and the red is the added spacers. The spacers are on the opposite side of the pin.

    You could always buy a pre-slotted fingerboard from LMI...I'm sure they'de make it any width you'de like.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    If you can get LMI to slot it, then it is worth every penny. The problem is I dunno if they do a fingerboard that wide. There's another place Exotic Woods (Gidwani?) that does slotting. Getting your boards slotted for you is the way to go unless you enjoy the experience of using a handsaw and you can do it accurately.

    LMI sells the templates and plans for the table saw setup as well as a very thin kerf slotting blade. It's not cost effective to buy it unless you plan on making a bunch of them but it's accurate and fast.
     
  6. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Exotic Woods is at http://www.exoticwoods.com/ .

    Regarding getting a thin kerf blade for a table saw: I would think that you'd have to have an expensive saw, or at least an expensive miter attachment, so that there would be zero angular play in the wood holding to prevent crooked (non-perpendicular) frets-- or is there some other method?
     
  7. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I wouldn't put the LMI blade on a Craftsman. But really you don't have to have the finest of saws to make it work. You don't want play in the jig (it should ride in both mitre slots on your table) and you want the arbor to be stable -- but you kind of want that anwyays. My neighbor uses his on an old DeWalt radial arm saw. It's a decent old saw and the thing produces great slots.
     
  8. The machine shop in my department at school has a very nice setup. The post doc in my lab says that if I bring them some donuts they'd probably give me a hand with this so I'll see what I can do.

    Thanks for the replies.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    A dozen donuts is definitely cheaper than a slotting fee plus shipping!
     
  10. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    MSCDirect has a bunch of .023" saw blades right here. I got a 5" and 6" to try with the Stew-Mac template and table saw.
    They're really fast as well. Both together were less than the Stew-Mac one, and it's probably the same blade!
     
  11. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    The MSC link brings me to a different page. I'm having trouble locating a .023 kerf saw blade on the web site that is not itty-bitty. How did you manage to track it down?
     
  12. Yeah, I had the same problem.
     
  13. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Scroll to the bottom and go to the next page- they're there. I just put in .023" kerf as a search and it came out with 34 hits. Sorry for the confusion...it's not my fault! They do have a confusing website.
     
  14. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Are you sure about that? I get a page with 5 (inappropriate) search results, and no next page available. And the search box won't take "kerf".
     
  15. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I just clicked the link again and I got .025" kerf slitting saw blades. It says 34 results, 3 pages, but I only see 2 pages and the largest diameter is 4".

    At any rate, let us know how these blades work for you and what tool you are putting them on.
     
  16. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Bassic83- can you tell us what page in the "big book" the item appears on? I think once you get to any item detail, there is a link to the catalog page. This page# can be searched on.
     
  17. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    06851133 will give you a .023" kerf, 6" with 1/2" arbor, 460 tooth HSS blade. I also got a 73305237, which is 5" dia, 1/2" arbor, 380 tooth HSS blade. They're listed under saw & saw blades> jewelry saws.
     
  18. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Oh, BTW, page 425 in the Big Book.